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The history of aviation

Part 2: Aviation in the 20th century


The 20th century was marked by dramatic advances in aviation technology. The introduction of jet engines in the 1930s revolutionised aviation, enabling faster, higher and longer flights. During the Second World War, aviation technology was greatly advanced and the first jet fighters were developed.


In the 1950s, the golden age of flight began as airlines began passenger service. The Boeing 707, the first successful passenger jet, revolutionised the aviation industry and air travel for every man. The Concorde, the only supersonic passenger jet, was launched in the 1970s and remained a symbol of luxury air travel until its retirement in 2003.


In the last centuries of the 20th century, aviation technologies became more sophisticated and aircraft became larger. The introduction of computer controls and advanced materials made possible aircraft such as the Airbus A380, the largest passenger aircraft in the world, and the Boeing 787, the first aircraft made largely of carbon fibre.

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